|“||Now the trick to hunting is calm and patience. You gotta think and move like an animal to catch an animal.||„|
|—John Marston to Jack Marston|
The hunting in the game can involve stalking, advancing upon the targeted animal, and finally making the kill. This system makes the game very similar to the actual sport of hunting. Animal bait can be bought from merchants at stores to attract various animal species. Skinning an animal allows the player to acquire material from the animal, which includes furs, skins, carapaces, hides, teeth, pelts, claws, fangs, feathers, meat, hearts, tusks, antlers and horns.
These resources can then be sold to merchants for various prices in various places; this is considered by many to be one of the fastest sources of gaining money as it can allow the player to gather hundreds of dollars worth of resources within minutes, and does not require waiting for an event to be available, such as bounty hunting. When the player skins an animal, Marston can be seen crouching in front of the animal. He will then take out his knife, and begin to skin the animal, using up to three different cuts, depending on the size of the animal. After initiating the skinning process, an animation of John Marston cutting while blood splats on the screen, shows. It is also possible to achieve a slightly higher camera angle (although the animal will still be out of view) if the player crouches before initiating the skinning animation.
Animals are randomly generated in the wilderness and can sometimes assault the player, his allies, and his horse, requiring intervention. Marston will sometimes encounter strangers screaming for help as they are pursued by some type of predatory animal, such as a wolf or bear. Eliminating the pursuing animals (and therefore saving the stranger) will grant Marston money and fame. Additionally, hunting at least one of every wild animal species in the game will earn the player the Unnatural Selection trophy/achievement.
After a kill, vultures may appear, opening up the sharpshooting challenge. Completing this and other challenges will earn the player fame, and can unlock outfits for Marston. The blood of any animal will act as bait for predators, so when an animal is killed, keep a lookout for wolves, coyotes, cougars, bears or any other animal likely to scavenge. This also means that never-ending waves of animals may appear. If you kill a pack of wolves a new pack of wolves will appear shortly after, the same will keep happening, only with less time between each individual wave. But beware, if you hunt too close to a town or settlement, you will soon have a bounty on your head and the law chasing after you.
There are 36 different (not including legendary) animals that can be encountered in Red Dead Redemption and any of the listed animals can be hunted. Different animals supply the player with different pelts, claws, meat and other resources with different values, which can be sold. Killing some animals may not please their owners or the townsfolk. Slaughter of an owned horse or a domesticated dog is a crime and, if witnessed, will result in a bounty. This is considered "Animal Slaughter." Being seen killing cattle will also place a bounty on the player, called "Livestock Slaughter."
These animals all interact throughout the wild in a carefully crafted ecosystem. For instance, the player could be traversing the plains and see a herd of buffalo grazing, or while traveling through a forest, one may encounter a cougar hunting an elk, or a grizzly bear defending its territory from a pack of wolves. Each animal behaves differently; however, they can generally be placed within one of two categories: passive and aggressive.
Passive animals are harmless to the player, and will usually flee at any sign of danger or if the player gets too close and is detected by the animal. Tamed animals such as broken horses or farm cattle will not flee but will still move away slightly due to a sense of personal space.
Aggressive animals will attack the player either as prey or because they feel threatened, they are usually predatory, exceptions include the boar, the bull. Beware of these animals even when dead, as it is rare to encounter an aggressive animal traveling alone; for example, wolves always travel in packs but some animals like coyotes will travel alone but even though they don't usually attack don't let that fool you because they will occasionally attack.
Animals of different species have different habitats, so time of day sometimes matters as much as location when trying to hunt down specific prey. Players having trouble spotting a particular critter in the day time may often find it to be worth their while to camp out and wait for nightfall.
A wise hunter knows which weapon to use for each type of animal. A small firearm may not make a sufficient impression on a large predator, while some heavy weapons turn humbler creatures into fine red mist (thus preventing the player from skinning them or obtaining body parts necessary for some quests).
Some animals only exist on one side of the US/Mexican border. This means that Marston's kills can fetch a higher price on the other side. This also applies to animals found only in West Elizabeth.
The following animals appear in the various areas of Red Dead Redemption:
List of animals
Tools of the Trade
When hunting small game (birds and small mammals) it is advisable to use a smaller caliber gun (Repeater Carbine or Cattleman Revolver). If too large a weapon caliber is used, the animal being hunted has a tendency to explode in a red shower of blood, leaving no remains to be harvested (e.g. shooting a beaver with a shotgun will not produce any skinnable remains).
It is useful to use a horse when hunting large or more dangerous animals (e.g. bear, cougars, elk, wolves etc.) Horses can allow you to chase the fast herbivores as well as giving the powerful predators a run for their money.
The Hunting Knife is always described as a lesser weapon, but can be very useful while hunting, as it provides a silent kill. This is good to use on horseback. It is also the tool used for skinning. Throwing Knives are useful too, as they provide a silent short distant kill and can kill with one or two throws.
Bait is a very useful tool, as it attracts a large group of animals in the vicinity. But be warned: a group of bears or other fairly dangerous animals may come after the player. Usually when using bait, you mainly get wolves or coyotes in the vicinity, so these animals usually scare away your desired animal of finding.
The binoculars can be used to see very far away. It is not only good for hunting, but also for scanning the horizon, seeing enemies, and finding herbs. This item is obtained in the West Elizabeth mission, At Home With Dutch.
The player can also use dogs when hunting. This may or may not be a more useful way. Mainly at MacFarlane's Ranch or Manzanita Post there will be collie type dogs roaming around. Whistle near them and they will follow you. Once you leave the area the area they should go ahead and start tracking animals. If they find something they will begin barking and sprint off in the direction toward the animal.
- Main article: Sale Rates
- Main article: Skinning
Hunting Challenges, which can be done both as part of the single player experience and in multiplayer Free Roam sessions, will reward the player for hunting down and killing set amounts of the most dangerous animals. In single-player, Marston will hunt and skin many animals in his quest to be a Master Hunter.
- Main article: Hunting Grounds
Tips and Tricks
- The Rolling Block Rifle and Carcano Rifle are both exceptional scout weapons when hunting aggressive wild game, due to their ability to project a light on the rim of the scope that can point out the location of aggressive NPC's. By either periodically checking or holding the scope up while hunting or wandering through common spawn areas of aggressive animals the player can gain immediate notification if an aggressive animal spawns, since a light pointing to them will instantly show up on the scope once they do appear. This can be very useful when dealing with stealthy and highly lethal animals such as the bear or cougar, preventing random surprise attacks completely.
- When hunting dangerous animals, such as Bears, Cougars, etc. It is wise to use a broken wild horse, as you can whistle immediately for a new horse if yours dies.
- Hunting bears can be frustrating. The easiest way to avoid being killed is to hunt them while driving some sort of wagon or stagecoach. Not only do the bears not attack you, they actually run away. This makes for a very easy and safe kill. Then you can pull the wagon up next to the dead bear, skin it, and get back on the wagon where you are once again immune to attacks. Anything that is pulled by a horse works for this trick, including the small carts. The biggest challenge with using this method is trying to avoid obstacles when riding in Tall Trees.
- If you are completing your Master Hunter Challenges and have unlocked the Expert Hunter Outfit it is advised that you wear this as you will gain twice the amount of provisions when skinning. So you profit from the extra provisions and complete your hunter challenges.
- When hunting dangerous animals, if you are about to be killed, select your campsite item in your 'kit' list, then you should be sitting in your campsite untouched and alive. You will not be able to set up camp if the ground is uneven, if there are too many trees nearby or if you are by the water.
- As an alternative to the above, always keep your weapon drawn when exploring locations where hostile animals spawn. If you're about to be attacked, go into Dead-Eye right before the animal makes contact. Doing so will bestow Marston and any mount he is riding with instant near-invulnerability until disabled, and will keep Marston from being knocked down by a Cougar or Bear strike, avoiding double taps in the process. (Struck once, struck again while on the ground.)
- Spending a day in Tall Trees while wearing the Expert Hunter Outfit can be extremely prosperous. Due to the large amount of animals in the area the player can kill dozens of animals and gain twice the provisions with the outfit. Selling the items to merchants can reward the player with around $5,000.
Bonus Downloadable Outfits
Expert Hunter Outfit: This was one of the contenders for the outfit pre-order bonus along with the Deadly Assassin Outfit and the Savvy Merchant Outfit. The voting ended February 15, 2010 and the Deadly Assassin outfit was named the winner. However, Rockstar revealed that this outfit and its required challenges would be released as DLC (Downloadable Content) for free in Summer 2010 for all platforms, being released along with the Savvy Merchant Outfit on October 12, 2010. This outfit, when worn, allows you to receive double the amount of skins & hides from hunting. That makes it very useful for quick hunting.
Achievements and Trophies
These Trophies/Achievementsinvolve the hunting and/or skinning of animals:
Kill and skin 18 Grizzly Bears.
Kill 1 of every animal species in the game in any game mode.
Kill the last buffalo in the Great Plains in singleplayer.
Obtain Legendary rank in any Single Player Ambient Challenge.
Attain 100% in the Single Player Game Completion stat.